Classic snow chains are an effective means of increasing the cross—country ability of a car in difficult road conditions. For example, on snow and ice. However, they are not applicable in everyday life, and sometimes they are prohibited. In addition, removing and installing chains on wheels requires certain skills and time. Hyundai engineers have come up with a solution to these problems, although so far only in theory. Their new development is the chain substitutes built into the wheels. To activate them, the driver only needs to press the appropriate button in the menu of the driving electronics. It sounds tempting, but how should it be arranged in practice?
The automatic “circuits” are based on the shape memory effect. This is the ability of some materials to return to their original configuration when heated. It is from such alloys that special elements are made, located directly in the wheel at an equal distance from each other (for example, six pieces per wheel). Electrical contacts necessary for the supply of current are connected to them through the wheel disk.
Electricity heats up the elements made of a special alloy, forcing them to change their shape, and they push out from the tire cross bars-hooks, which replace the snow chain. To implement such a design, a special “wheel + tire” assembly is required, while the tire must have special grooves for hooks. In other words, in ordinary tire repair, such wheels cannot be overloaded. Well, the question of price and reliability of the entire system remains open at all.
At the moment, this curious technology is only at the stage of patent approval, but Hyundai hopes that it will soon be possible to test it in reality, and after the necessary tests, launch such wheels into mass production.